Releases: July 2, 2013
Source: the publisher
You can read the Goodreads summary here.
Sixteen years after a virus swept the nation killing most of the population, Clover, her brother, and her father still survive by taking daily injections that keep the virus from taking hold of their bodies. Clover, who is autistic, is sixteen now and ready to continue her education. But when she's told she cannot attend with her dog, Mango, she is instead sent to the Company where she's on the fast track to become a Time Mariner - a person who travels two year into the future on missions to gather news. But one of Clover's missions throws her for a loop when she learns that her brother is in trouble, and now the most important thing is saving his life before it's taken away.
Clover's story struck me as unique right away, since she is autistic. She was immediately an endearing and realistic character, and her helper dog Mango was fantastic as well. I felt for her right away when she was denied entry into the Academy but I also admired her ability to throw herself into her new "job" and enjoy it. Clover is probably one of the best characters in recent YA. She alone is a reason to read Viral Nation.
Of course, what's going to keep you reading is the plot. It's been a long time since I've read a YA novel with a plot that was so well crafted and with so many intricate layers. That's a true testament to Shaunta Grimes' writing skills. I loved the time traveling aspect of the novel, it really lent itself to an interesting plot and really made me think.
On the other hand, even though I loved Clover and I thought the plot was so well crafted, I did find that Viral Nation didn't hold my attention. My mind was wandering, particularly around the halfway to three-quarters part. Still, by the end of the novel I found myself excited to see how the story will continue in the next book in the series.
Three stars. While Viral Nation was a well thought out novel, it failed to hold my complete attention. However, if you're a hardcore dystopian fan I really recommend this one. Viral Nation is the start of what appears to be a fantastic series.